Mix-and-Match Cocktail Meatballs

These yummy meatballs make the perfect appetizer for all your holiday gatherings, plus they’re super easy to make all on your own!

From top left, clockwise: Apricot-Glazed Beef Meatballs, Hoisin Pork Meatballs and Chipotle-Cranberry Turkey Meatballs

From top left, clockwise: Apricot-Glazed Beef Meatballs, Hoisin Pork Meatballs and Chipotle-Cranberry Turkey Meatballs

1. Pick Your Meat

Preheat the oven to 425˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put 1 pound ground meat in a large bowl (choose one or a combination).

  • Ground beef
  • Ground turkey
  • Ground pork
  • Meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal)

2. Choose A Binder

Add 3/4 cup of one of the following to the meat.

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Panko
  • Saltines, crushed
  • Butter crackers, crushed

3. Add Seasonings

Add 1 teaspoon herbs or spices to the meat (choose one).

  • Paprika
  • Ras el hanout
  • Chili powder
  • Fresh ginger, grated
  • Fresh thyme, chopped

4. Make the Meatballs

Add 1 large egg, 1 grated garlic clove, 1/2 grated onion, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the meat mixture. If desired, add 1 cup shredded cheddar, mozzarella or monterey jack or 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Mix until well combined. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs (about 28) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, 13 to 15 minutes.

5. Pick a Glaze

Choose a flavor, then combine the glaze ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the baked meatballs and bring to a steady simmer. Cook, turning the meatballs, until the sauce thickens into a glaze, 12 to 18 minutes.


  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha


  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce (such as Heinz)
  • 1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 chopped canned chipotle pepper, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

6. Finish with a Topping

Transfer the meatballs to a platter, sprinkle with one of the following and serve with toothpicks.

  • Scallions, sliced
  • Chives, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Photograph by Ralph Smith

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